A gay man who is also a drag queen was recently confirmed by a Methodist church in Illinois as a candidate for ordained ministry. He wore wigs and full makeup while participating in his church’s “Drag Sunday” in April.
And Josh Duggar, a former star of the television series 19 Kids and Counting and a very public Christian, appeared in court last Friday after he was arrested and charged with receiving and possessing child pornography. Though he pleaded not guilty, he has confessed to adultery and viewing pornography in the past.
My father served in World War II and never attended church again. As a result, I grew up without a church and with all my father’s faith questions. If I had read these stories before I became a Christian as a teenager, I would have seen them as excellent reasons to not become a Christian.
Should President Biden be able to take communion?
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone released a letter last Saturday calling for public figures who support abortion to be barred from taking communion. He serves in San Francisco and is thus archbishop for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who is an ardent abortion supporter. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is likewise considering a document that would advise Catholic politicians who support abortion to not receive communion.
Here’s why this is such an urgent issue for them: Catholic theology teaches that the communion wafer and wine (also known as the Eucharist), when presented by the priest at the altar during Mass, become the body and blood of Christ (a doctrine known as “transubstantiation”). The Church states that this “sacrament” is “the source and summit of the Christian life” and that “in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church.” The Church also teaches that abortion is a “moral evil” and “gravely contrary to the moral law.”
As a result, we would expect the vast majority of American Catholics to agree that public officials who support abortion should not take communion. But we would be wrong.
According to a new poll, 87 percent of Catholic Democrats believe President Biden should be allowed to receive communion, despite his passionate support for the “moral evil” of abortion. Only 44 percent of Catholic Republicans agree.
Why “we are losing a generation”
In my Daily Article last Friday, I discussed our society’s belief that sexual freedom and “authenticity” are essential to personal and social flourishing. In this view, the biblical worldview is dangerous to society and must be replaced with a secular vision for the future.
As Christians respond to this unprecedented threat to public biblical morality, it is absolutely vital that we demonstrate personal biblical morality.
Ethicist Russell Moore is right: “The problem now is not that people think the church’s way of life is too demanding, too morally rigorous, but that they have come to think the church doesn’t believe its own moral teachings.” He adds: “We are losing a generation—not because they are secularists, but because they believe we are.”
This is why you and I need a transforming, intimate, daily relationship with our risen Lord. And why our enemy will do all he can to keep us from one.
“Satan demanded to have you”
On Maundy Thursday, Jesus warned Simon Peter: “Behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat” (Luke 22:31). “You” is plural in the Greek, referring to all the disciples. Satan wanted to “sift” them, meaning to shake them so violently that they would fall and fail.
Jesus continued: “But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (v. 32a). The “I” is emphatic; “you” is singular, referring to Peter alone. Jesus prayed that his faith (“faithfulness” in the Greek) would not “fail” in the sense of a complete and final denial of his Lord.
Jesus knew that Peter would experience a temporary failure but that God would redeem it: “And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (v. 32b). Following Peter’s denial of his Lord (Matthew 26:69–74), he would repent and would “strengthen” the other disciples after their similar failures (John 21:15–19).
Peter responded, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). However, the opposite occurred: “Jesus said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me’” (v. 34). And so it was (Matthew 26:75).
The key to being like Jesus
How can this event help us experience the holiness in our lives we wish to see in the world?
First, expect temptation to find you. If Satan would attack your Lord (Matthew 4:1–11) and his lead disciple, he will attack you (1 Peter 5:8).
Second, pray for help to the One who is praying for you (Romans 8:34). If Peter had been more humble, he would have been more holy (cf. Micah 6:8).
Third, offer others the grace you have received (Matthew 28:19). Peter’s post-Easter ministry encourages each of us to be “beggars helping beggars find bread.”
The key to being like Jesus is staying close to Jesus. Oswald Chambers is right: “A great many Christian workers worship their work. The one concern of a worker should be concentration on God.” He added: “The only responsibility you have is to keep in living, constant touch with God and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your cooperation with him.”
Would Jesus say you are in “living, constant touch” with him today? If not, why not?